Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cowichan Valley Citizen Editorial

Everyone needs curbside organics collection

The Citizen

Published: Friday, November 12, 2010

Well it's about time.

Finally, one area in the Cowichan Valley (excluding Ladysmith) is instituting curbside organics collection.

We applaud the City of Duncan for getting on board with eliminating compostable materials from the waste stream.

As stated in the article in today's Citizen, by taking away all of the meat scraps, pizza boxes, and other kitchen waste, Duncan can expect to cut down on the amount of garbage headed for the landfill by 35 to 40 per cent.

That is an incredible number, and one we hope the other municipalities and electoral areas in the region are taking a good, hard look at.

Here in the Valley we currently have a very undesirable solution to waste -- we ship it out of town. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is unlikely we will be able to continue to do this indefinitely, which means we will be in for a shock when we are forced to face our waste, so to speak.

Look at all the outcry over where to locate a waste transfer station in the south end of the Valley.

Imagine the difficulty of trying to locate an actual landfill -- it boggles the mind.

Add to that the fact that we are far behind here in terms of diverting organics from the waste stream, and you see the need quite clearly for us to pull our socks up and get with the times.

Even Ladysmith, which has now been collecting compostables at the curb for several years, was late to the party compared to most of Canada.

From the Maritimes to Toronto, municipalities have been collecting and composting kitchen waste and other organics for more than a decade.

These programs have worked very well. Some have even included yard and garden waste in their organics pickup, thereby eliminating much of the problem of backyard burning.

We were thoroughly disappointed to hear the Town of Lake Cowichan back away from their plan to institute a similar organics collection scheme in recent months.

The issue, apparently, was one of cost.

We think that we are rapidly coming to the point where we will not be able to afford not to -- much like Victoria is finally having to bite the bullet and properly treat its sewage before it gets pumped out into our coastal waters.

Gone are the days when it was okay to empty your oil down the nearest storm drain or into the nearest ditch. Gone are the days when it was commonplace to just take all of your garbage out into the backyard and burn it anytime you felt like it.

These are not things for which we should be nostalgic.

It's time for the whole Valley to follow Duncan and Ladysmith.